Tearful Nicolas Colsaerts seals first win in seven years

James Corrigan
Nicolas Colsaerts wins the French Open, his first tour victory since his annus mirabilis in 2012 - Getty Images Europe
Nicolas Colsaerts wins the French Open, his first tour victory since his annus mirabilis in 2012 - Getty Images Europe

Could Nicolas Colsaerts make an overdue reappearance in the Ryder Cup for Europe? Certainly, the depth of gumption that he dredged up to capture his first win in seven years suggested that Padraig Harrington’s team next year would be strengthened by the Belgian golfer’s resurgence.

The 36-year-old resembled his 2012 self in cruising to a three-shot lead at the French Open at Le Golf National, before his recent troubles seemed to come back to plague him when he followed a brilliant chip-in eagle on the 14th with a double ­bogey on the 15th.

But then, he succeeded where so many Americans failed at the Versailles layout in the biennial dust-up last September, by parring the last three holes for a 72 and a 12-under total for a one-shot victory over Dane Joachim B Hansen, with South Africa’s George Coetzee a further stroke back in third.

Down in shocking 424th position in the world rankings, Colsaerts went into the week worried about retaining his card on Tour, but the newly married father-of-one now has his status guaranteed for two more years.  His Tour nickname is “The Dude” but he looked unashamed to reveal his emotions when the tears emptied on the 18th green.

“It’s very, very special,” Colsaerts said after picking up the £250,000 cheque. “The French Open for me is very special because I’m French-speaking. I’ve been coming here for I don’t know how many years, it’s been a long road.

“So many people have supported me over the years, that’s why I get so emotional. I went through ups and downs for so many years now that it’s just so good to win again.

Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium reacts on the 18th green - Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Colaserts seals victory by one stroke with a third successive par on 18 Credit: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

“This win changes everything for me for the next couple of years. I will now have a lighter schedule and not have to worry about having a card. I have a wife and a little kid that I am going to be able to spend a bit more time with now.”

On the PGA Tour, Justin Thomas moved up to fourth in the world with a two-shot win over New Zealand’s Danny Lee at the CJ Cup in South Korea. England’s Tyrrell Hatton finished in a tie for sixth.

On the LPGA Tour, another American, Danielle Kang, prevailed by two shots at the Buick Shanghai, with Englishwomen Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Georgia Hall 12th and 14th respectively.